105 of 105 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2007
I had never used fresh vanilla beans, but wanted to try my hand at making vanilla extract. Vanilla beans are EXPENSIVE in the spice aisle of my local grocery store. I did find them in the fresh veggie section, but even those were $3.99 for 2 and I needed at least 16 for the extract. I decided to see what I could find online. This store (JR Mushrooms & Specialties, Inc.) has great reviews and the price of the beans was reasonable. The beans arrived quickly and I was impressed with the quality - plump, NOT dry and the smell was heavenly.
I made a coconut cream pie for Thanksgiving dessert and decided "What the heck. Let's give cooking with the fresh beans a try." In addition to the vanilla extract called for in the recipe, I split a vanilla bean and scraped the seeds into the mixture. OMG! I have never tasted coconut cream pie this good. The only difference was the addition of the fresh vanilla. My BIL called the next day to rave about the pie AGAIN.
I dropped the rest of the cut pod into a bottle of vodka (I'm using Tito's Handmade Vodka) and have continued to add pods as I use them in cooking. The extract isn't ready (it hasn't even been 1 month since I started it), but the smell is wonderful and the taste is well on the way to perfection. I'll definitely be buying fresh beans to use in my baking from now on.
204 of 225 people found the following review helpful
If I could have given this merchant more than five stars, I would have done so. I ordered three items through the Amazon.com site, which was a very unclear site that did not become clear to me until I had already entered THREE separate items.
When I realized I was going to be charged for three separate deliveries of these three small items, I could find no way on the site at Amazon to make the change. I resigned myself to paying the extra shipping charges for the mistake I made in not being able to indicate that all three items should go into a single, small package to a single address.
At that point I determined never to order grocery items from Amazon again until their site instructions were made clear BEFORE an order is placed rather than AFTER.
But at 9:00 a.m. the next morning the PRESIDENT of JR Mushrooms & Specialties phoned me and asked if I did really want the three items shipped separately to my address. I told him I had tried to correct the problem on the Amazon site and was unable to do so. The president, Mr. Rusnak, immediately had the extra shipping charges deleted from my credit card.
I had placed the order on Sunday, Feb. 10, and all three items were delivered via USPS this morning, Wed. Feb. 13, in one, single package. Without a doubt, this is a company from which I intend to order many items in the future. In addition, all three items are of superior quality. I had ordered pure cinnamon oil and pure vanilla oil along with the vanilla beans. Thank you Mr. Rusnak. Please stay in business for a long, long time with the same superior quality products and SUPERIOR service.
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2009
These beans are wonderful! When I received the box and opened it, my whole place was scented with vanilla bean (and porcini mushroom--which came in the same package and are also excellent) aroma. As per Cook's Illustrated, the best way to keep them fresh and soft is to wrap each bean individually in plastic wrap, then store them in a ziplock plastic bag in the refrigerator or freezer--either one will keep them fresh for a long time. To make your own vanilla extract, split one bean lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and add them to a one cup jar along with the bean, then add 3/4 cup of HOT vodka (any inexpensive brand will do), let cool, cover, and shake gently every day for a week; then strain if desired and store in a cool, dark place. It will keep indefinitely. This extract is wonderfully fragrant. In their taste tests it beat out their top rated commercial vanilla extract. I can't recommend these beans highly enough! And you can't beat the price compared to what you'd pay in the supermarket for an infinitely inferior, dried out product.
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2007
The product is excellent and so fragrant. I have already used half of what I purchsed by making ice cream and cookies. They are so fresh when you receive them and they make everything in which they are used taste wonderful.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2008
My shipment of vanilla beans arrived vacuum packed for freshness. The beans are long, thick and large. The flavor and scent is intensely vanilla. I was worried that because these beans are sold for so much less than those in specialty/gourmet stores, that they would be of poor quality. Not true! These are the best vanilla beans I've ever purchased.
I have used these beans to make my own vanilla oil (split a bean or two lengthwise, then leave to soak in a couple of cups of a mild cooking oil such as canola. The resulting vanilla oil can then be used as the oil called for in desert recipes (think cupcakes!), or even body products such as lip balm. Split vanilla beans may also be used to make your own vanilla sugar or syrup. Just leave the split bean in a closed container with up to four or five cups of white or brown sugar for a week to make "vanilla sugar." Add a split vanilla bean to two or three cups of simple syrup, and you now have your own vanilla syrup (note: I also add a drop or two of vanilla extract to enhance the syrup's flavor. I've also made my own vanilla extract by placing two split beans in a closed glass jar of plain vodka (leave for at least two weeks before using, shaking container every so often). I cannot imagine the amount of money I've saved by making these items myself, plus it's fun and, in my opinion, better tasting!
Prior to finding this vendor on Amazon, I purchased and used vanilla beans from "specialty" and gourmet stores over the years. I find those other beans - Nielsen-Massey, for example - to be extremely expensive, dried out and relatively flavorless compared to the beans offered by this vendor! You cannot beat the pricing and flavor offered by the folks at JR Mushroom. Oh, and the shipping was extremely fast, and I believe I received a thank you note from the vendor with my purchase. Highly Recommended!
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2011
I ordered these vanilla beans to use for baking. They are amazing! I stored them in a ziploc bag in my pantry and when I went back to use them 2 months later, I found them to be moldy. I was disappointed because they are supposed to last much longer. I was going to just throw them away, but decided to contact the company instead. I had a written response within the hour (on a Friday afternoon) and they told me to throw them away and they would send out a new package Monday morning. I did not ask for them to do this but I am really pleased that I don't have to buy more. Good customer service is so hard to find and I am impressed with theirs. I will order from them from now on!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2009
I make my own vanilla extract so was very pleased not only with the price, but the fresh, plump and long beans. Since the price can't be beat,I'll order them again from this company.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2012
These beans arrived promptly and, as others have said, were plump and have a nice aroma. The price was so reasonable that it encouraged me to try them in many different ways. So far I've made a batch of Kahlua, a batch of vanilla extract, and a batch of homemade granola using these beans. And STILL have 8 left. I'm going to chop a bean up finely and add it to the heated milk I use for homemade yogurt. I'm guessing that will be yummy. Very pleased with this purchase - the quality is superb.
For those having storage issues, the proper way to store vanilla beans is to wrap each vanilla bean separately in plastic wrap, expelling all the air, and then put all the wrapped beans in a plastic bag (also expelling all the air) and store in your pantry or other dark cool location. Every month, take the beans out, unwrap them, let them air for 15 minutes or so, then wrap back up and store. I've never had one go bad doing this.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2007
Hard to see much difference between a supermarket bottle at $10 per vanilla bean and these for less than a dollar per. Makes it practical to drop one or two beans in making a cannister of ice cream.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2007
This is my second purchase of these vanilla beans - I ordered 16 the first time & went for 1/2 pound the second time around. I made my own vanilla extract - amazing! I'll never buy already made extract again. (I used to get the expensive stuff too!) I'm also giving my extract away as Christmas gifts this year. I think I'll try the Creme Brule recipe with some of this batch. Thanks again, JR Mushrooms!